That is what the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has ruled after finding a Chilean priest, Fr Fernando Karadima, guilty of sexually abusing minors:
After an internal investigation, the Vatican found the Rev. Fernando Karadima guilty of sexually abusing minors in Chile and ordered him to retire to a “life of prayer and penitence,” the archbishop of Santiago said Friday.
The ruling, announced by the archbishop, Ricardo Ezzati, said that Father Karadima, 80, would be relocated to a place where he would have no contact with his former parishioners or “persons that have been spiritually guided by him.”
The accusations by former parishioners against Father Karadima last year stunned Chile, a conservative and predominantly Roman Catholic nation unaccustomed to questioning its priests, especially one as revered as Father Karadima. He had trained five bishops and dozens of priests, acting as a spiritual leader and father figure for young men who later accused him of molesting them.
The decision is a rare case of a powerful church figure being called to account for the charges of sexual abuse that have swept the Catholic world the past few years.
The Vatican decision “is going to mark a before and after in the way the Chilean Catholic Church proceeds in cases like these, or at least it should,” said Antonio Delfau, a Jesuit priest in Santiago, the capital. “From now on, every case of sexual abuse must be treated with meticulous care and not be based on the gut feeling of a given church official.”
For the accusers, including at least four men who said Father Karadima abused them when they were young parishioners, the decision was a long-awaited vindication. One original accuser said the abuse began when he was 14…
Father Karadima has not been prosecuted criminally. A judge investigating the accusations against him closed the case late last year, ruling that there was not enough evidence to charge him.
An appeals court in Santiago is still deciding whether to reopen the criminal investigation. It remains unclear whether the Vatican’s decision will prod the Chilean authorities to do so.
Well it should! This man has obviously been wicked, behaved criminally and broken the law. As such, he must be punished accordingly - no matter who or what he is…
In consideration of his age, the Vatican deemed it appropriate “to impose on the accused his retirement to a life of prayer and penitence, also in reparation to the victims of his abuses,” said the ruling, read by Archbishop Ezzati.
If he violates the conditions of the ruling, Father Karadima could face stricter sanctions, including removal from the priesthood, the archbishop said.
Which I wonder why he was not, given the fact that he has clearly brought the Church into great disrepute and effectively spat in the face of the One who he was supposed to represent.
The rest is in The New York Times.